Bears-Giants quarterly thoughts

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First Quarter analysis:

The Bears began the game with the ball and marched right down the field on 10 plays for 50 yards, which resulted in a Robbie Gould field goal. With Matt Forte and Greg Olsen in the lineup, they looked much more efficient than last week. Cutler was poised in the pocket and managed to find Earl Bennett for a couple threaded needle passes. On the Bears’ next drive, they once again moved the ball well for 80 yards on 5 plays. Forte ended that drive with a 32-yard touchdown run. Credit Olin Kreutz and Frank Omiyale for creating a huge crease on that play. The defense, meanwhile, did not look as good. Brandon Jacobs ran over several Bears defenders, including Brian Urlacher at least twice. They weren’t gang-tackling, and that’s a recipe for disaster when trying to take down a truck like Jacobs. Coverage has been okay with no glaring weaknesses. Kevin Payne broke nicely on a deep pass by Eli Manning and batted it down on third down.

Second Quarter analysis:

You can’t ask for much more from this Bears offense than what we saw at the beginning of the second quarter. The Bears opened the quarter and their drive from their own 8-yard line. On second down and 9, Cutler rolled out of the pocket and heaved a ball downfield to a wide open streaking Devin Hester. Unfortunately, he just overthrew Hester, which is very difficult to do. However, the Bears still marched down the field and ended the 10-play, 92-yard drive with a 1-yard Cutler-to-Desmond Clark touchdown. The key play to set that up was a 38-yard reception by Devin Aromashodu. Cutler laid it out their perfectly and Aromashodu went and got it. Cutler’s night was done after that drive and Caleb Hanie took over. He went three-and-out on the first drive and Brad Maynard had his first punt of the game. Late in the quarter, Hanie delivered a perfect strike that Kellen Davis corralled for a big first down. He later hit Brandon Rideau on a slant and Rideau dragged a defender for a first down on a 20-yard gain. Hanie then scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown run, but the play was called back after Kevin Shaffer was flagged for holding. The defense looked a lot better in this quarter. They held the Giants to 4 plays for 14 yards on their first drive of the quarter, which ended in an Adewale Ogunleye sack. Manning fumbled the ball on the play and Alex Brown gracefully picked it up and took it to the house, but Manning’s knee was on the ground before he fumbled. On the Giants’ second drive of the quarter, the defensive line put more pressure on Manning and they brought a couple blitzes and the Giants looked rattled. I’m sure that’s much more like what Lovie Smith intended to see from his defense.

Third Quarter analysis:

Mark Anderson opened the second half with a few good plays. He got around right end and nearly picked up a sack but couldn’t get a full grasp on backup David Carr. Josh Bullocks instead cleaned up the play for a sack. Just after that, Anderson came free off the end and put immediate pressure on Carr, who had to hurry his screen pass, which was broken up immediately. Dusty Dvoracek picked up a sack late in the quarter. The second-string offense just didn’t look good on their first drive. They picked up one first down on a Kevin Jones 2-yard plunge on fourth-and-one, but failed to move the ball very far. On the next drive, Juaquin Iglesias made a nice catch on a low throw by Hanie on a screen pass and took it 23 yards down the sideline. Iglesias displayed some speed and some nifty feet on the play. It was a quiet quarter as there was no scoring and the ball changed hands a few times.

Fourth Quarter analysis:

The Bears’ offense got sloppy to open the fourth quarter as they had a third-and-one situation but were backed up ten yards on two consecutive false start penalties. Midway through the quarter, Hanie completed a few passes and Adrian Peterson broke off a 14-yard run as the offense moved the ball down the field. The defense got pushed around a little bit and lost their discipline on the Giants’ first possession of the quarter. They got knocked around to the tune of 13 plays for 55 yards, but ultimately held when the Giants went for it on fourth and long. Josh Bullocks nearly came up with an interception on that fourth down throw by Giants quarterback Andre Woodson. Marcus Harrison picked up a nice sack near the Giants’ goal line, but the defense was then burned by a big screen pass as they overpursued the quarterback instead of holding their ground at the line of scrimmage.

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